Data VS information 

What is data?

Data can be defined as a representation of facts, concepts or instructions in a formalized manner which should be suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing by human or electronic machine.

Data is represented with the help of characters like alphabets (A-Z,a-z), digits (0-9) or special characters(+,-,/,*,<,>,= etc.).

Data is the raw material that is to be processed for information or for collection of details. It is unorganized data or facts that are to be processed. Data is plain fact and it has to be processed for further information. Data is alone enough to get details and find the meaning of something. Data is the computers language. Data is useless unless it is processed or has been made into something. Data has no meaning when it has not been interpreted. Data is an unclear definition of words jumbled up to form one meaning of something. Data comes in figures, dates and numbers and is not processed.


Examples of Data

  • Student Data on Admission Forms: When students get admission in a college. They fill admission form. This form contains raw facts (data of student) like name, father’s name, address of student etc.
  • Data of Citizens: During census, data of all citizens is collected.
  • Survey Data: Different companies collect data by survey to know the opinion of people about their product.
  • Students Examination data: In examination data about obtained marks of different subjects for all students is collected.

    Data Processing Cycle

    Data processing is the re-structuring or re-ordering of data by people or machine to increase their usefulness and add values for particular purpose. Data processing consists of basic steps input, processing and output. These three steps constitute the data processing cycle.

    Computer Data

    • Input - In this step the input data is prepared in some convenient form for processing. The form will depend on the processing machine. For example, when electronic computers are used, the input data could be recorded on any one of several types of input medium, such as magnetic disks, tapes and so on.

    • Processing - In this step input data is changed to produce data in a more useful form. For example, pay-checks may be calculated from the time cards, or a summary of sales for the month may be calculated from the sales orders.

    • Output - Here the result of the proceeding processing step are collected. The particular form of the output data depends on the use of the data. For example, output data may be pay-checks for employees.

What is Information?

Information is organised or classified data which has some meaningful values for the receiver.

Information is the processed data on which decisions and actions are based.

For the decision to be meaningful, the processed data must qualify for the following characteristics:

  • Timely - Information should be available when required.

  • Accuracy - Information should be accurate.

  • Completeness - Information should be complete.



Information is processed data. The data that can be made useful is known as information. Information is basically the data plus the meaning of what the data was collected for. Data does not depend upon information but information depends upon data. It cannot be generated without the help of data. Information is something that is being conveyed. Information is meaningful when data is gathered and meaning is generated. Information cannot be generated without the help of data. Information is the meaning that has been formed with the help of data and that meaning makes sense because of the data that has been collected against the word. Information is processed and comes in a meaningful form.

Examples of Information

  • Student Address Labels: Stored data of students can be used to print address labels of students.
  • Census Report: Census data is used to get report/information about total population of a country and literacy rate etc.
  • Survey Reports and Results: Survey data is summarized into reports/information to present to management of the company.
  • Result Cards of Individual Students: In examination system collected data (obtained marks in each subject) is processed to get total obtained marks of a student. Total obtained marks are Information. It is also used to prepare result card of a student.
  • Merit List: After collecting admission forms from candidates, merit is calculated on the basis of obtained marks of each candidate. Normally, percentage of marks obtained is calculated for each candidate. Now all the candidates names are arranged in descending order by percentage. This makes a merit list. Merit list is used to decide whether a candidate will get admission in the college or not.
  • Comparison Chart

    Basis of Distinction Data Information
    Definition Data are raw numbers or other findings which, by themselves, are of limited value. Information is data that has been converted into a meaningful and useful context.
    Example Ticket sales on a band on tour. Sales report by region and venue – tells us which venue is most profitable.
    Significance Data by itself alone is not significant. Information is significant by itself.
    Etymology Data is a plural of datum, which is originally a Latin noun meaning “something given.” Its origin dates back to the 1600s.

    Its origin dates back to the 1300s.



Key Differences

  • Data is the input language for a computer and information is the output language for human.
  • Data is unprocessed facts or mere figures but information is processed data which has been made sense of.
  • Data does not depend on information but information depends on data and without it, information cannot be processed.
  • Data is not specific but information is specific enough to generate meaning.
  • Data is the raw material that is collected but information is a detailed meaning generated from the data.